• Climate Change and Sustainability Documentaries to Watch This Summer!

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Documentaries can be a great way to learn more about sustainability and environmental issues, requiring only a couple hours of your time. It can often be overwhelming to think or learn about climate change and the future of our planet, for which there are also more reflective and hopeful documentaries on the topic. We’ve compiled a small list of great documentaries from the past two decades that cover a variety of environmental issues and concerns.  

    Kiss The Ground (2020) 

    Review: Kiss the Ground – Thelma and Alice

    Narrated by Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground discusses how soil and regenerative agriculture can be used to combat the climate crisis by creating sustainable food systems, restoring ecosystems, and stabilizing the climate. This documentary features a series of activists, scientists and celebrities. 

    Gather (2020) 

    Home | Gather Film

    Gather focuses on a growing Indigenous movement of reclaiming their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty. The food sovereignty of Indigenous peoples is the right and ‘ability to respond to their own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods’ (Indigenous Food Systems Network). The documentary includes the efforts environmental activists from the Yurok Nation in Northern California are taking to protect a river, as well as sharing information on historical agricultural practices. 

    An Inconvenient Truth (2006) An Inconvenient Truth : Al Gore, Billy West, Al Gore, Davis Guggenheim, Lawrence Bender, Laurie David, Scott Z. Burns, Jeffrey D. Ivers: Prime Video

    Former Vice President Al Gore presents a case on climate change and global warming through scientific evidence and anecdotes in An Inconvenient Truth. Gore lightens the serious tone of discussing the climate crisis by incorporating his personal experiences into the conversation. The documentary addresses common misconceptions and myths about global warming, also encouraging the audience to get involved with climate action in their communities. An Inconvenient Truth is followed by An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017). 

    2040 (2019) 

    2040' - Two-Hour Film Special - CW Seattle

    If you’re looking for a documentary with a more positive outlook on climate change, 2040 is a great film to consider. 2040 approaches climate change from a different perspective, the director expressing his concerns as a father worried for his daughter’s future. The documentary explores various innovative climate change solutions and what the next 20 years could look like. 

    A Plastic Ocean (2016) 

    A Plastic Ocean (2016) | Watch Free Documentaries Online

    A Plastic Ocean looks at the effect of plastics in the ocean as they break down into microplastics and enter the food chain. The documentary features a group of scientists, a journalist and a diver that spend four years, across 20 different locations across the world, studying the effects of plastics on marine ecosystems and human health. 

    David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet (2020) 

    Davis Attenborough's A Life On Our Planet - Virtual Movie Screening | UCLA Sustainability

    If you have watched nature documentaries such as Our Planet before, chances are you’ve heard David Attenborough’s narration. Considered Attenborough’s “witness statement” for the environment, A Life on our Planet explores the impact of humanity on the natural world and the changes he’s seen in the world throughout his lifetime. The documentary ends with a hopeful message for future generations with a set of feasible solutions to undertake. 

    Chasing Ice (2012) 

    Chasing Ice (2012) | Watch Free Documentaries Online

    A photographer for the National Geographic who was initially a climate change skeptic was tasked to capture footage to help convey the severity of global warming. While on his trip to the Arctic, the photographer and his team capture time-lapse data over multiple years of the erosion and retreat of glaciers. The footage collected also features the longest glacial calving event ever captured on film. 

    Chasing Coral (2017) 

    Watch Chasing Coral | Netflix Official Site

    Chasing Coral documents one of the most severe coral bleaching events recorded. Capturing data from 2014 to 2017, about 75 per cent of coral died or were affected by climate change-induced heat stress in this time. The film uses over 500+ hours of underwater footage from an international team of divers, photographers and scientists.

    Categories: Film, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • What to Watch & Read This Fall: A guide to sustainability-focused books & documentaries

    Blog Contributor: Madison Lepp

    Taking some time away from your studies can be a great opportunity to learn about new things. These books and documentaries are the perfect additions to your fall reading and must-watch list.   

    Must Read:

    1. All We Can Save (2020)

    All we can save book on grass.

    All We Can Save Book. Source: All We Can Save Project

    All We Can Save is an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement. The book honours the complexity of the climate crisis while intermixing essays with poetry and art. Highlighting that women and girls are vital to the climate movement, the book itself serves as space for these voices. Using hard facts, personal essays, calls to action, and thoughtful perspectives the message is clear: to change everything, we need everyone. Past the book itself, “All We Can Save Circles” are self-organized small groups committed to reading the book together over the course of 10 sessions, with open-source facilitation materials designed to build connection and seed action. 

    Available locally: Someday Books

    2. Consumed (2021)

    Consumed book.

    Consumed Book. Source: Hahette Book Group

    Consumed: On colonialism, climate change, consumerism & the need for collective change asks you to change your consumer identity through a two-part reading of ‘learning’ and ‘unlearning.’ The book sheds light on the uncomfortable history of the textile industry; one riddled with injustices, racism, and inequalities. Aja Barber helps you understand why you consume the way you do, whose pockets your money actually goes into, and why we fill voids with consumption rather than compassion. CONSUMED will teach you how to be a citizen rather than a consumer.  

    Available locally: Someday Books (special order)

    Must Watch:

    1. There’s Something in the Water (2019)

    A poster for the film - There's Something in the Water.

    There’s Something in the Water film cover photo. Source: IMDb.

    There’s Something in the Wateran expository documentary, confronts the inaccurate view of what Canada is like. Beneath the perfect image lies the truth of unjust inequalities, dominating corporations, and disregard for human health. It is common knowledge that the climate crisis is inextricably linked to environmental racism, social injustice, and health; this documentary helps connect the facts to real-life situations. It takes place in the province of Nova Scotia, exposing the disproportionate effects of water pollution on low-income, Indigenous, and Black communities. Exploring some of the most pressing environmental issues and their impact on everyday lives.  

    Available on: Netflix, Apple TV

    2. Ice on Fire (2019)

    A poster for the film Ice on Fire.

    Ice on Fire film cover photo. Source: Fantastic TV.

    Ice On Fire examines the potential for global catastrophe as a consequence of Arctic thawing. The film follows scientists and visionaries who are working together to mitigate climate change. The film brings you concrete facts on the rising temperature of the Earth but also a list of the world’s most promising solutions. The film provides hope through the exploration of carbon capture solutions that may just give us a chance at reversing climate change.   

    Available on: Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime




    Categories: Books, Film, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • 5 Netflix Documentaries for the Eco-Conscious

    Blog Contributor: Shannon Ruzgys

    Documentaries are a great way to educate and inspire yourself and there is no shortage of wonderful documentaries about the environmentThese 5 Netflix documentaries are a must watch for anyone who has hope for a better future.  

    Kiss the Ground  


    Modern day industrial agriculture is degrading our environment through tillage, heavy pesticide use, and mono-cropping (just to name a few). These practices lead to soil erosion, which not only immediately threatens global food security, but is also irreversible. This documentary proposes a solution, regenerative farming, an ethical practice that prioritizes animal health, restoring degrading lands, and drawing down carbon. Told from the perspective of scientists, farmers, activists, and politiciansthis documentary provides hope for a better farming system that can heal the soil, balance our climate, and feed people all at the same time. 

    Our Planet  


    This documentary contains all the things we’ve grown to love from nature docs such as Planet Earth and Blue Planet, while also choosing to focus more on how humans are altering the natural world around us and the impact that we’re having on biodiversity worldwide. There are 8 episodes that each focus on a different ecosystem, while highlighting how climate change uniquely impacts each of these environments. In David Attenborough’s words “[This] series will explore the Earth’s most important habitats and celebrate the life they still support. We will reveal what must be preserved if we are to ensure a future where humans and nature can thrive” 



    While this is not explicitly an environmental documentary, this Netflix show, which currently has two seasons, focuses on the problems in our food supply chain. Each episode focuses on a different food product, exposing the corruption, waste, and social impacts of the foods we choose to eat. The issues with our global food supply chain run deep but as consumers we have the power to choose what we want to support by what we put on our plates three times a day. This series is a great tool for educating yourself on how to be a more ethical grocery shopper (even if that means leaving avocados off your morning toast).  

    The Biggest Little Farm

    This documentary follows a couple and their dog on their journey to restore 200 acres of dry, nutrient depleted farmland into a healthy farmable ecosystem using nature-based regenerative solutions. Viewers follow them on their journey as they turn 200 acres of desert into a utopia that utilizes the power of a healthy ecosystem to farm with nature. Throughout almost a decade of work they plant 10,000 orchard trees, over 200 crops, and bring in animals of every kind. It is an inspirational documentary that demonstrates how farming can be done in a way that benefits animals, people, and the environment.  

    David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet


     This documentary is David Attenborough’s witness statement where he states his concern for the state of our planet and his hopes for a better future. Throughout the documentary he narrates key moments in his life all the while showing human population growth, carbon in the atmosphere, and the percentage of intact wilderness within the scale of his own lifetime. He emphasizes that nature currently faces two great challenges: climate change and massive loss of biodiversity. This documentary is not only a testament of Attenborough’s life’s work but also carries a dire warning for the future and a hopeful way forward through the restoration of the natural world.  


    Categories: Film, Student Contributor, Sustainability